Nintendowe Paint

Nintendo We Series 2 Volume 6: Mario Paint Adventures

For the latest edition of Nintendo We, I’ll be covering another Nintendo franchise that has been left to stagnate for quite some time, but with the advancements in video game mechanics and similar titles to have come out since, there would be much more room for expansion upon the ideas first perpetuated with this long-neglected franchise. Mario Paint was a game released in 1992 on the Super Nintendo having been produced by the late Gunpei Yokoi; the creator of such consoles as the Game Boy and the Game & Watch. It was essentially Microsoft Paint for the Super Nintendo coming packaged with a mouse peripheral and giving players the creative freedom to draw pictures, fill in pre-drawn stills of classic games in the console such as Super Mario World and also coming with a variety of mini-games and even a music composing game whereby players could compose their own songs comprising of many different types of amusing sound effects.

A commercial and critical success at the time AllGame even went on to call it “perhaps the most ingenious and inspired idea Nintendo ever came up with for a product”; significantly high praise both in retrospect and for the time considering the many games and consoles Nintendo had released up to even that point. Ever since, however the only thing even remotely close to Mario Paint that Nintendo have released since has been a collection of games under the title Mario Artist, which was released only in Japan and on the ill-fated Nintendo 64DD; a magnetic disk-based add-on for the Nintendo 64 that proved to be a commercial failure, never seeing the light of day outside of the country. Nintendo have referenced Mario Paint in various titles ever since including Super Smash Bros for Wii U, but there hasn’t been an additional game in the series released since 1999. However, I think the time would be right to not only resurrect the series but also give it a new lease of life in the form of new gameplay ideas for a new kind of audience. The thing I’d like to see happen to the overall concept would be an adventure game (be that either linear or open world) and I believe there are several ways this could be done. But in particular, there’d be one developer I think would be especially suited to undertake a project like this along with Nintendo; a company they’ve had an extensive relationship with over the years.

Capcom is a world-renowned Japanese games developing and publishing company, who over a period of four decades have established themselves as one of the most recognizable brands in all of gaming. Founded back in 1979, they have since produced some of the most iconic video game series’ of all time in including Street Fighter, Resident Evil, Mega Man, Devil May Cry and Monster Hunter. Besides these select few franchises they have also gone on to develop and publish a plethora of other memorable games, including two Nintendo titles for the Game Boy Colour; The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages. However, out of the many games they released throughout the sixth generation in particular, Viewtiful Joe, Breath of Fire V and the Onimusha trilogy to name but a few, there was one in particular game published by Capcom and developed by Clover Studios back in 2006, which I believe would be instrumental in shaping the developmental process of a new Mario Paint title.

Okami was first released on PlayStation 2 thirteen years ago. It follows the story of the wolf goddess of the sun Amaterasu who has set out to save the world from darkness and defeat the eight-headed dragon Orochi. Though it sold rather poorly upon release, Okami was met with universal praise, with critics going so far as to call it one of the greatest games of all time; an assessment I personally very much agree with. Likes games such as Chrono Trigger and Grim Fandango before it, it was for a while considered to be no more than an obscure gem; these days, however, it has a well-deserved place in gaming history. Like Mario Paint, the Okami series has also been relatively neglected since it’s release, with the only additional title release being Okamiden for the Nintendo DS, as well as it simply being re-released and re-mastered for new hardware; including a re-release on the Wii taking advantage of its motion controls.

Both Mario Paint and Okami focused on the idea of implementing painting in its gameplay, with Mario Paint, of course, allowing players to paint their own pictures and Okami using a paintbrush mechanics to both fight enemies and to solve puzzles. The idea of these elements coming together, as well as implementing new ideas, would make for a particularly interesting title in my opinion. For example, if it were to be a linear adventure game, players could have to color in surrounding areas in order to solve puzzles or progress; or a mechanic like this could be used to uncover hidden areas similar to Paper Mario: Colour Splash. Maybe like in Okami, each environment to be explored could have entirely new designs and different types of areas to be excavated like sunken ships or caves and forests. If it was open-world, there would be even more scope to expand upon these ideas; one such concept could be that Mario could have to switch between 2D and 3D environments to uncover different areas similar to Super Paper Mario. Evident with me talking about the Paper Mario series, there is also a massive amount of scope for development in terms of conceptual design as well. With Colour Splash, the Super Mario mythos was expanded upon to a degree, which at that point I hadn’t even thought possible. Making use of a conceptual design like the outlined cel-shaded visuals in Okami could give the Mario series another new dynamic.

This, in turn, would also provide scope for expansion upon the Super Mario universe in terms of story as well, in the sense of introducing new characters and worlds and maybe even re-introducing old ones. In particular, I would like to see Count Bleck from Super Paper Mario make a return, or even Fawful from Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, in an attempt to break away from the conventional premise of Bowser returning to kidnap Princess Peach again. Although Nintendo did add another layer to that whole dynamic between Mario and Bowser in Super Mario Odyssey, there must only be so much that Nintendo can do with that and I think it would be time now to attempt to deviate away from that by primarily introducing new villains instead.

In short, another collaboration between Nintendo and Capcom would be an extremely refreshing experience and I think one of the best ways to do that would be to take two criminally neglected video game series’ and make something truly spectacular with them and adapt it for an entirely new audience. Mario Paint and Okami are two of the most critically acclaimed video games of all time and combining elements from both games would certainly make a truly memorable gaming experience.